What goes into an appraisal?One's home purchase can be the most important financial decision many people might ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.
Most of the parties involved are very familiar. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital required to bankroll the exchange. The title company ensures that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.
So who makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional California licensed appraiser from Landmark Appraisal will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
Inspecting the subject propertyOur first responsibility at Landmark Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Back at the office, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Cost ApproachHere, the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.
Analyzing Comparable SalesAppraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachIn the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.
ReconciliationCombining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day: An appraiser from Landmark Appraisal will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.